Tag Archives: Salem Cosmetic Dentist

Do Dentures Really Make Your Face Shrink?

My mother is losing her teeth. I’ve tried for years to get her to brush but she doesn’t like “how it feels”. Now she needs dentures. Of course, she doesn’t have dental insurance or money so I’m having to pay for her new teeth. I can barely afford these dentures and now the dentist tells me if I get them her face will shrink and instead I should get dental implants. They’re massively more expensive. However, I don’t want to damage my mother’s face. Is he right about the shrinking thing?

Annabelle C.

Dear Annabelle,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

It is truly fantastic how you are looking out for your mother’s best interest, especially given she doesn’t seem to care about taking care of herself. What your dentist referred to with the dentures is known as facial collapse.

How it works is once your mother’s teeth are removed, her body will begin to resorb the minerals in her jawbone to use elsewhere. This is because her brain senses she no longer has teeth and assumes she doesn’t need the jawbone. It’s remarkably efficient. If only our government knew how to distribute resources where they’re actually needed.

The problem is after ten to twenty years, there’s very little jawbone left, which gives her face a squashed, older appearance. Additionally, it makes it impossible for her to keep her dentures in. He’s suggesting dental implants because the implants serve as teeth roots, which lets your brain know that jawbone is still a necessity. This prevents facial collapse.

Should Your Mother Get Dentures?

While dental implants are the better treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right treatment for your mother. I’m not just talking about the expense. My guess is your mother lost her teeth because of gum disease. If that’s the case, she’s not yet a candidate for implants. Gum disease causes tooth loss. It will also do the same to her dental implants.

Right now, dentures are the best thing for her. If you can convince her to take care of her oral health and get her gum disease thoroughly healed, then you can re-evaluate. However, there’s no point it getting an expensive procedure that will be guaranteed to fail.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Do It Yourself Invisalign

I keep seeing the advertisements for at-home Invisalign. You only have to submit photos, etc. Do they work?

Cecil

Dear Cecil,

A woman putting in her Invisalign aligners in two stacked images

There are several of these type of companies at the moment. None of them are actually aligned with Invisalign, which is a specific brand. They’re just sort of leeching off the name recognition to get people to click and learn about them.

Some of them work and some of them are outright dangerous. However, all of them have one thing in common which gives me pause. You rarely, if ever, see a dentist. Yes, you submit photos. Yes, a dentist looks at those photos. What they’re not saying is there are things which even the best dentists can’t discern from a photograph, such as gum disease.

While there are some cases, depending on their severity, which are obvious even in a picture. Most of the time it requires x-rays and some probing of the gums. Plus, molars are very difficult to see in pictures. Your oral health needs to be checked during treatment. Gum disease can derail your treatment process as well as your teeth. If gum disease progresses untreated you can lose bone mass and teeth.

Benefits of Seeing a Dentist for Invisalign

Seeing a dentist and getting the real deal when it comes to your Invisalign treatment means you get a jump start on fixing any issues which develop, such as the gum disease listed above or decay and tooth pain.

Other times teeth have to be shaved in order to make room for treatment with crowded teeth. If those cases, you will be sent to a dentist even with these “do it yourself” treatments. But, you’ll likely be working with a dentist who is not invested in your case in any way. It actually takes some cosmetic dentistry skill to do this in a way which still allows the teeth to look natural.

Additionally, there are other cosmetic procedures you can do simultaneously when you work with a dentist. Your Invisalign aligners can double as teeth whitening trays, essentially giving you a mini smile makeover between the straighter teeth and a whiter smile.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Is There a Dentures Support Group?

Please help me. I feel so foolish. It’s bad enough losing your teeth. But, being poor and losing your teeth is the absolute worst. I couldn’t afford to get dental implants, and yes, I know they’re better. I’m just stuck with dentures. I absolutely hate them. I don’t know if there’s a group or something which talks about how they deal with dentures, but I really need one.

Carolyn

Dear Carolyn,

An image of a snap-on denture
Snap-on Dentures will keep them secure

I’m not aware of a denture support group, but it sounds like a good idea. You might even be able to start one at your local dentist’s practice. I say that with confidence because you’re not alone in your feelings. Many people struggle with dentures.

Common Struggles with Dentures

One of the biggest complaints is it’s much more difficult to eat food. Many times that can be improved with a better fit of your dentures. However, there are limitations. Even the best fitting dentures still reduce your chewing capacity by 50%. Cutting your chewing capacity in half is a huge drop in quality of life.

Another problem is they slip and slide. Removable dentures are, by their very title, removable. Because there’s nothing anchoring them there, they will move. This will happen more and more as your jawbone shrinks, which is a devastating side effect of dentures known as facial collapse. Eventually, you won’t be able to keep them in at all.

I realize I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know and you want solutions, so let’s move on.

A Snap-on Dentures Solution

Without having the money for dental implants, most patients feel hopeless, like they’re trapped. However, there is a sort of “part way” procedure that will help a little.

Generally, when you’re talking about implant supported dentures, you’ll need about six for each arch. However, with snap-on dentures, you can get as few as two. This can make a world of difference.

Benefits of Snap-on Dentures

The most obvious benefit is they cannot fall out. The implants anchor the dentures to your mouth securing them so you’ll never have to worry about embarrassing public slips.

They’ll help you retain your jawbone where the implants were placed.

They give you a stop gap while you work toward more implants. Obviously, the more implants you have the better, but starting with two gives you hope, a bit of relief, and a place to start.

Our life circumstances change all the time, and there may come a time you can afford to get more implants. This also allows you to save up a bit at a time and you can add two implants in stages as you’re able, until you have the security and chewing capacity you want.

This blog is brought to you by Salem Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Invisalign as a Retainer?

I am about to finish with my Invisalign treatment. It’s been great and I’ve loved seeing the progress of my teeth. My dentist said I’m going to need to wear a retainer for a time. I’m kind of bummed that after all this time with the invisible treatment I’m going to have to switch to a metal bar. Could I just wear my last pair of aligners as a retainer?

Lana B.

Dear Lana,

Pretty brunette with a beautiful smile
Invisalign can give you a gorgeous smile

I’m so glad you’ve loved your Invisalign experience. They have quite a high patient satisfaction rate. Aren’t you glad we live in the time period we do when we no longer have to wear those uncomfortable metal braces?

Unfortunately, your aligners are designed to be temporary. If you wore them for the length of time you’d need to wear a retainer, it would not only wear through with holes, but would get kind of gross and nasty.

However, I have some good news for you. You won’t have to wear “ye olde metal bar” for your retainer if you don’t want to. Just like braces, retainers have had their own advancements as well.

Options is Retainers

  • Lingual Retainers

While these are metal retainers, they’re placed behind your teeth on the tongue side. No one will be able to see them so you’ll get the invisibility you want.

  • Clear Retainers

You can find two types of these. The first of these are small and cover about half of the tooth, made out of similar material to your aligners, but made for more long-term use. The second covers the whole mouth and can be decorated with a logo from your favorite team or other favorites.

What you’ll need to do is talk to your dentist handling your Invisalign case and discuss these newer options. That way you can get the treatment you need in a way you’re comfortable.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba. Check out his beautiful smile guarantee.

General Dentist or TMJ Specialist?

I have really good teeth. Never had a cavity or any other problems, though I do grind my teeth. I had a checkup a month ago with an all clear. Yet, this week I keep getting an intermittent pain in my teeth. I can’t tell exactly where it’s from. I don’t know if it’s a cavity or not. My cubicle neighbor said she had a similar problem and it turned out to be TMJ. Should I see a general dentist or a TMJ Specialist?

Norma

Dear Norma,

Woman holding her jaw in pain from TMJ

I want to clear up a common misunderstanding. There isn’t a recognized specialty in TMJ Disorder. Any dentist who treats TMJ is just a general dentist who (hopefully) has done additional study and training in TMJ treatment.

We’ll get into how to find a qualified TMJ dentist in a moment. First, let’s address your pain. You don’t have localized pain, but generalized. That makes me think it’s not a cavity. However, if it’s referred pain, that could still make a cavity a possibility.

Your checkup wasn’t too long ago, so unless your dentist missed something a cavity wouldn’t generally pop up and suddenly hurt in that short period of time. Here’s what I’m going to recommend. Go back to see your dentist and get some x-rays done. If by chance it is decay, it’s much easier to get a simple filling than to put it off until it blows up into a dental emergency. So don’t be afraid to go to the dentist and get diagnosed. It’s better than waiting until things are dangerous.

Finding a Qualified Dentist to Treat TMJ

If it turns out there’s not decay or any other typical dental issue, then it will be time to see a TMJ Specialist. So how do you know who is qualified without that true specialty degree? You ask about their TMJ training.

It should be post-graduate and be at some place like one of the following:

  • The Spear Institute
  • The Dawson Academy
  • The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies
  • The Kois Center

These are just a few of the advanced training centers, but they’re among the most reputable. If they haven’t done significant post-graduate training, look elsewhere. Additionally, you should know that a good TMJ Dentist will start with the least invasive treatment. They wouldn’t start with a full-mouth reconstruction unless it was a serious and obvious problem where that was the only solution.

Best of luck to you! Hopefully, it’s a simple solution.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

What Can Keep My Dentures In?

I’ve had my dentures for a long time. Don’t ask my age. It’s rude. However, I do need advice. Regardless of how old I am, I don’t enjoy being humiliated by having my dentures fall out when I’m in public. So, be a nice young man and tell me how to fix this disaster. I’m almost scared to open my mouth. If you knew how much I loved talking you’d feel very sorry for me right now.

Eleanor

Dear Eleanor,

An image of a snap-on denture
Snap-on Dentures will keep them secure

What’s happening to you is a result of how long you’ve had your dentures. I certainly hope your dentist warned you about the problems with long-term dentures, but based on your question I don’t think he did.

When your teeth were removed, your body began reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere. After 10-20 years, there’s not enough jawbone to keep your dentures secure. This is known as facial collapse and the reason yours keep falling out.

Snap-On Dentures Could Be Your Solution

To solve this will take a couple of steps. The first thing you need is to build back up that lost jawbone. A simple outpatient bone grafting procedure can do that for you. Once you’re healed from that you have a few choices. I would never dare ask your age, but it will have an effect on which you choose.

The cheapest solution is to have new dentures made, but remember in a period of time, you’ll face the same issue of a shrunken jaw.

If you want the top-of-the-line tooth replacement option, then I’d get implant supported dentures. These attach your newly made dentures to dental implants. They will last a lifetime and prevent you from any further bone loss. The only drawback is the expense. They come with a hefty price tag.

In between those two treatments, is something called snap-on dentures. I’ve posted a picture of them right after your question. These use just two implants that will snap on to your dentures. They’re not as secure as a full set of implants would be, but they will keep your dentures in.

If you want to, you can add more implants as you’re able.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Can Dentures Be Attractive?

Everyone I know who have dentures have an ugly smile. I’m losing my teeth and need to replace them. I am going to save up for dental implants, but in the meantime I need dentures. I don’t want an ugly smile. Is there a way to get attractive, normal looking dentures?

Kevin

Dear Kevin,

Mature couple smiling
You can have a gorgeous smile no matter what your age!

Yes, you can certainly have an attractive smile with dentures. It’s not the procedure which makes the difference in appearance, but the dentist. In order to have a natural and attractive smile, you need to see a cosmetic dentist with a lot of expertise.

There are different levels of artistry in cosmetic dentists, just like there are better and worse painters and sculptors. Any art is a skill which takes both technical skill, natural talent, and lots of practice. So, how do you find such a dentist?

I suggest you look for a dentist who has reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are in the top 1% of expert cosmetic dentists in the world.

Transitioning from Dentures to Dental Implants

I’m sure your dentist has explained the dangers of dentures to you and that’s why you’re saving up for dental implants. One thing you could do starting out is to get snap-on dentures. This can be done with as few as two dental implants and will at least get you started.

Make sure that whoever you go to for your dentures also has some expertise in dental implants as well, especially because you’re going to be transitioning. They can do your snap-on dentures or even complete removable dentures in a way that will make the process easier.

The Danger of Dentures

In case your dentist didn’t explain why implants are the better option I’m going to put it here for you and for the benefit of others. Once you remove your teeth, your body will begin reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. This causes your jawbone to begin shrinking. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone left to even retain your dentures, making it nearly impossible for you to eat. This process is known as facial collapse.

Dental implants prevent facial collapse because the root form tricks your body into thinking you still have natural teeth there and it leaves the mineral in place, saving your jaw bone structure.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

How Do I Find the Best Dentist?

I’ve recently moved and need to find a new dentist. I’ve been to the same one most of my adult life so it feels weird switching. How do I find the best one available?

Burt

Dear Burt,

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair
The Best Dentists Leave Us with Smiles

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some independent, objective measurement to tell us who the best dentists were? Unfortunately, especially when it comes to general dental care, there isn’t. That doesn’t mean I can’t give you some guidelines to help you find the best dentist for your particular needs.

The first thing to ask yourself is what type of services do you need? Are you strictly and nuts and bolts guy who just wants his teeth cleaned and maintained as necessary? Or maybe you also want some cosmetic work done? Once that’s decided, it gets a little easier.

Finding the Best General Dentist

For the basics, I’d simply do an internet search for dentists in your area. Then I’d take two additional steps.

  • Check their reviews.

You’ll want a dentist people enjoy seeing. One who makes them feel like family instead of just someone they need to get in and out of the dental chair. Reviews are generally written by those who are thrilled with the service they’ve received or hated it. Either one should give you the information you need.

  • Check their passion

Each state has a requirement for how many continuing education hours a dentist has to do to keep their license. You want a dentist who not only keeps up with the developments in his field but has a passion for it. Make sure they go above and beyond what is required. They shouldn’t be offended to answer a question on how many continuing hours they do.

Finding the Best Cosmetic Dentist

It’s a little easier to find the best cosmetic dentist. Because there isn’t a cosmetic dentistry specialty, there used to be no way for patients to know who would give them a gorgeous smile makeover with porcelain veneers and who would give them a cosmetic horror story.

Fortunately, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry stepped in and created an accreditation program. This tests dentist both with written and oral exams gauging their technical knowledge. Then, it requires them to provide visual evidence of a large number of cosmetic procedures they’ve done to ensure they not only have technical skill but artistry as well.

If a dentist is AACD accredited, that means you will get a stunning smile. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Can a Dental Crown Cause TMJ

I’ve had a problem over the last month of my jaw aching, especially in the morning. I’ve been under some stress and have caught myself tensing my jaw some throughout the day. Then, I got a dental crown. It’s made the pain so much worse. I went back to the dentist…several times. He’s adjusted it several times, but the pain never seems to go away now, plus, it’s always hitting my other teeth before the others. Could this be causing TMJ?

Beatrice

Dear Beatrice,

Woman holding her jaw in pain

Yes, a poorly placed crown can certainly cause or exacerbate existing TMJ problems. There is a lot that goes into understanding how the bite should go together. Some dentists invest more time and training in that area than others. You may have a dentist who doesn’t invest much in it.

The fact that your teeth are not meeting uniformly is a cause of concern and he should know that. Some dentists who have trouble getting it right will just adjust and adjust until the patient is too embarrassed to keep complaining and drop it. This needs to be fixed.

The fact that your jaw had already had some minor pain and you’d noticed some clenching during the day worries me too. If you notice clenching during the day, you almost certainly are doing it at night as well. You should be wearing a nightguard. They’re custom fit to your bite and comfortable. Their function is to protect your teeth and jaw from the pressures of clenching and grinding.

Finding a TMJ Dentist

It doesn’t sound like your dentist is going to deal with this properly, so you need to see one who understands TMJ. While there isn’t a recognized TMJ Specialty, there are ways to know if a dentist has a good knowledge of the condition.

You’ll want to especially look at their post-graduate training. Don’t feel weird asking them about it. It’s important knowledge for you in choosing the right dentist. For instance, Dr. Stanley Burba invested significant training on TMJ Disorder. He’s studied at both the Spear Institute and the Dawson Academy.

Some other great centers are the Kois Center and the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). If a dentist has trained at any of these institutes, they’re sure to be able to help you.

Additionally, if it turns out that your dental crown isn’t properly placed the new dentist can help you get a refund from your current dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Press-on Veneers versus Cosmetic Dentist

I don’t have a very good cosmetic dentist. He’s great for a lot of general dental work, but even he admits his cosmetic work needs work of a different kind. I appreciate his honesty but it leaves me in kind of a bind. I want to get porcelain veneers. He said he’s fine with me going to another, more experienced cosmetic dentist for that particular procedure. He even recommended someone he said was AACD accredited. He said that’s a huge deal. Not sure why. Anyway, I went to the AACD guy and had a free consultation. He was nice and I could tell by his picture gallery of patients that he does great work, but his prices were through the roof. Today I saw this website for press-on porcelain veneers. The pictures looked pretty to me and they were A LOT less expensive than the guy my dentist recommended. Do you know about these press ons? Are they really as good as the ones by a cosmetic dentist?

Veronica M.

Dear Veronica,

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental instrument

First, I really appreciate the honesty of your dentist. Some, less caring practitioners might be tempted to just do their “best” porcelain veneers knowing they’d be subpar but wanting the practice or the money. Instead, he was forthright and even suggested another, more qualified, dentist.

Not just that, he was careful to recommend an accredited dentist with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the world. Yes, their prices are sometimes a bit higher (though not always). That’s usually because they’re so skilled and artistic that they’re in high demand with patients wanting cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain veneers. In fact, there are people who travel across the country or even from other countries to have their work done by them.

If you went to one of them you would definitely get a stunning smile. Probably every one of them has some form of a beautiful smile guarantee.

Porcelain Veneers versus Press-on Veneers

The press-on veneers you saw on that website are completely different from the veneers you’d get from a skilled, artistic cosmetic dentist. They’re more similar to what you’d get with a snap-on smile. They’re made from a composite resin and just press over your teeth temporarily. While they may look great for a photo shoot, they do not look nearly as stunning or natural in person.

Because the press-ons fit over your teeth, instead of being custom made and bonded to your teeth, they tend to come off a bit bulky and a little long. It can make it difficult for patients to speak when they’re in.

There are some procedures you can shop around and cut corners on. Teeth whitening is one example. It doesn’t really matter which dentist does that procedure. It’s fairly straightforward. Going for the cheapest dentist, in that case, will do no harm. Veneers are different. They require expertise in both technique and artistry.

If you want a true smile makeover, it’s an investment that will last a lifetime, giving you stronger confidence than you’d imagine.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.